Barca Force Draw In Catalan Derby

La Liga giants Barcelona played a 1-1 draw in the Catalan derby against Espanyol on Sunday. It was rainy and the pitch was waterlogged but the game continued. Barcelona are unbeaten in the league but they almost lost that record against their derby rivals.

This was the third meeting between both sides in two and half weeks after they met recently in the Copa Del Rey quarter final. Espanyol were the side that ended Barca’s unbeaten run in the Cup and their only loss so far this term. When they met in the Copa del Rey first leg, Espanyol won 1-0 with Lionel Messi losing a penalty. Barca won the reverse fixture to qualify on 2-1 aggregate.

This time a stubborn Espanyol side refused to budge and could have won the game after Gerard Moreno scored halfway into the second half. Sergio Garcia sent a nice cross that Gerard M. beat Gerard Pique to score through a powerful header. The home fans started celebrations early at the RCDE Stadium but Pique atoned for his earlier blunder with a header to level proceedings.

Messi started the game from the bench as Coach Ernesto Valverde had an eye on the second leg clash against Valencia in the Copa Del Rey semis on Thursday. The Argentine made impact when he came on despite the waterlogged pitch. He sent the free kick eight minutes from time that Pique connected to for the equalizer.

While Barcelona were gunning for victory, they would be happy to share the spoils in the difficult game. Towards the final minutes things got heated up as Gerard M and Pique clashed. Sergio Garcia and Samuel Umtiti also clashed with the Barca defender claiming he was racially abused. Garcia has denied the claims, saying he has been exposed to a multicultural background all along.